Political Theory Placement Candidates

Madeline Cronin

Curriculum Vitae

Madeline Cronin is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science. She recently completed a visiting instructorship at Loyola University in Maryland. Her current research examines relationships between contemporary politics and eighteenth-century debates about the role that cultivated taste should play in political judgment and civic education.

Cronin’s dissertation—“The Politics of Taste: Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen on the Cultivation of Democratic Judgment”—turns to eighteenth-century thinkers for whom cultivated taste (an inclination to take pleasure in the right things, people, and conduct) was essential to both moral and political judgment. Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen present a common critique of contemporaries such as David Hume and Edmund Burke who treat elevated taste as an indicator of progress and cultivated taste as a potential solution to problems of democracy. In doing so they offer unique perspective on contemporary debates in which taste is arguably a more central concern than is acknowledged--debates about the future of higher education, just access to healthy food, and the nature of truly civil discourse and public speech. Their criticisms of the class and gender based assumptions found in Hume’s theory of taste indicate why, in contemporary discourse, taste formation might be seen is as irrelevant or even detrimental to an egalitarian civic education. Yet, they also indicate ways in which justifications for judgments of taste might be essential to civic education because these inclinations inevitably shape what we deem worthy of study or conducive to civil discourse.

Cronin’s other research projects include an investigation of the role of Shame in Machiavelli’s political thought, and a comparison of Mary Wollstonecraft’s account of human as opposed to female modesty and Catherine McKinnon’s feminist arguments against the legality of pornography.

Teaching Expertise: Modern, American, and ancient political thought; capitalism and globalization (early modernity to present); feminist political thought; international relations; human rights; contemporary political thought; literature and politics.

Research Interests: Wollstonecraft, Hume, feminism, cosmopolitanism and localism, virtue ethics, republicanism, colonialism, human rights.

Karie Cross


Karie Cross is a PhD candidate in Peace Studies and Political Science at Notre Dame. Her main area of expertise is feminist political thought, but she also work on political violence, international development, human rights, and contemporary political theory. Karie is a specialist on South Asia, after conducting dissertation research in India and doing advocacy work in Nepal.   

Mark Hoipkemier

Curriculum Vitae

Mark Hoipkemier is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science. His areas of specialization are political theory and public law, with a research focus on political economy and the history of republican thought. Before coming to Notre Dame, he graduated from Dartmouth College and studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Mark’s dissertation, “The Political Economy of Common Goods,” presents the Aristotelian concept of common as indispensable for both the empirical and normative analysis of contemporary political economy. At its most basic, the idea of common good is that communities are real agents in the political world with their own goods and goals, which emerge from interaction. Social teleology shapes the members of any community—what they do and who they are—in ways that need to be both researched and politically debated. This structure applies equally in modern liberal context as in premodern polity, so the study turns to three key players in today’s political economy: corporations, markets, and liberal politics itself. The lens of common good shows that liberal regimes and corporations cannot aim solely at the good of individuals, as they purport to do; they always have their own emergent goods. But markets, despite their economic efficiency, lack common goods of their own; they are instituted to promote political ends without generating community. Once we see where social teleology empirically applies, we are in a position to debate, not whether we want common goods in our politics, but rather which ones.

Mark's working papers in his primary research stream explore common goods as they relate to immigration policy and urban design; future projects will treat the common good in Renaissance thought (Cusanus) and Islam. His secondary research line is on republicanism, specifically Machiavelli and his American reception, on the matter of political institutions and culture. From this line have appeared several conference papers as well as a research article and book chapter (both under review), which set Machiavelli in conversation with thinkers such as Abraham Lincoln and the Federalists. Mark’s articles and other writing have appeared in the Review of Politics, the Journal of Critical RealismArchivo di Filosofia, and Interpretation. 

Mark is prepared to teach courses in ancient, modern, and American political thought, constitutional law, Islamic law and politics, citizenship and immigration, and political economy. In the upcoming year at Notre Dame, he will teach “Introduction to Political Philosophy” and “Understanding ISIS: The past and present of Islamic Law.”.

Kevin Vance

Curriculum Vitae

Kevin Vance is a Ph.D. candidate in constitutional studies and political theory at Notre Dame. His dissertation compares the religion clauses jurisprudence of the U.S. Supreme Court with the religious liberty jurisprudence of the German Constitutional Court and the Canadian Supreme Court. The dissertation addresses some of the theoretical perplexities pertaining to the place of religion and the purpose and limits of religious freedom within liberal democracies, such as the extent to which constitutional courts should accommodate religious practices that conflict with what is otherwise valid law and the extent to which constitutional governments can recognize, favor, or disfavor religion. The dissertation considers the way each of these three courts conceives of the limits applicable to an individual’s free exercise of religion, the way each of the courts understands the potential tradeoff between positive and negative religious liberty rights, and the way each of the courts understands the autonomy of religious associations.

Kevin’s other research interests include constitutional law, 14th Amendment jurisprudence, American political thought, constitutional interpretation, and judicial politics.

Kevin is currently teaching constitutional law at Notre Dame, and he will teach Introduction to Political Philosophy at Holy Cross in the spring. He is also prepared to teach comparative constitutional law, American political thought, early modern political thought, ancient and medieval political thought, and judicial politics.

Before coming to Notre Dame, Kevin received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and worked in political journalism for several years in Washington, DC.